ASTA's International Destination Expo: Turkey 2010

This year’s International Destination Expo, which will take place in Istanbul, Turkey, April 19-22, will offer the opportunity to network with local companies that offer dream itineraries your clients will enjoy; complimentary 4-night hotel package for the conference dates; complimentary Istanbul sightseeing—so you may see what your clients will experience; and concentrated destination-specific education to enable you to become a Turkey destination specialist, as well as new certifications you can add to your professional profile to attract new clients.

In fact, among the array of education seminars that will be available to you at the International Destination Expo are certification and niche sessions that are sure to help you boost your bottom line. For instance, A Turkish Culinary Adventure: History, Ingredients & Tastes of Turkey’s Exotic Cuisine—listed as a certification session and brought to you by Tour de Forks—presents a way for you to offer clients a unique way to discover a destination. Indeed, with culinary tourism being so hot these days, why not learn how to tempt your foodie clients and sell Turkey to them as a destination that will thrill their palates? Presenter Engin Akin, a world-renowned authority on Turkish cuisine, will share her vast knowledge and passion for the food of her homeland—from the simple rustic food of the countryside to the sophisticated traditions of the Ottoman palace kitchens. You’ll learn how Turkey’s cuisine evolved, but most importantly, you’ll gather vital information on how to identify your foodie clients from within your client base and source new ones.

The Turkish Ministry of Tourism, meanwhile, will present another certification session—Turkey, the Cradle of Civilization: A Walk Through 10,000 Years of History. Presented by Turkey travel expert, Claudette Covey, this seminar will walk you through this destination’s storied ancient history—it’s home to the oldest human settlement in the world at Catalhoyuk—and also provide in-depth knowledge on its thoroughly modern tourism infrastructure, with an accommodations mix and activities portfolio suited to virtually all types of traveler. Covey will also provide practical information on how you can become a Turkey travel specialist with comprehensive sales and marketing strategies that unveil new and innovative ways to sell this fascinating country.

Another not-to-miss certification course is Gems of Southern Europe, presented by Anna Fesmire, CTC, DS and which will cover Cyprus, Andorra, Gibraltar, San Marino, Malta and Monaco.

Agents with a faith-based pool of clients won’t want to miss Discover How to Build a Thriving Faith-based Travel Program Centered on the World’s Top Religious Sites in the Middle East and Holy Land. This niche session, a panel discussion moderated by Kevin J. Wright, president of the World Religious Travel Association, and featuring leading Middle East tourism officials, will give you the opportunity to discover firsthand how to develop a thriving and diverse faith-based travel program centered on the religious itineraries stretching across these ancient and biblically rich lands. After the discussion, you’ll return home equipped with the much-needed knowledge and strategies to immediately impact your faith-based travel program.

Also included in this 4-day education mix are a few product sessions, including Turkey for Your Best Clients: Creating the Perfect Custom Itinerary, hosted by CTC Turkey. The session will focus on creating custom packages for those clients who prefer not to travel in groups and provide valuable information on special components that sophisticated travelers may appreciate such as wine tastings, gourmet restaurants, home-hosted lunches, specialist guides and off-the-beaten-path explorations. Presenter Mary Bai—with 25 years under her belt in travel planning—will provide information on suggested itineraries as well as accommodation and transportation options. Other product sessions to note are In the Footsteps of Paul and the Seven Churches of Revelation; Turkey and Beyond, Customized Groups and FITs; Turkey, the Unknown Corner of Europe; and Understanding and Selling Turkey, A Fascinating Growth Destination, with the latter offering ideas on how to effectively and successfully sell tours and shore excursions to this destination.

And to up the ante on one’s learning curve, agents will want to go exploring in this sizzling destination that’s gaining great interest among U.S. travelers. For that, agents can partake in the pre- and post-tours that range from a 2-night Cappadocia Tour to a 6-nightTurkish Coast Tour. The tours are offered exclusively for IDE attendees from Key Tours and Ya’lla Tours. Additionally, IDE attendees can take advantage of a specially discounted rate of $50 regional fares on Turkish Airlines to connect to any Turkish city.